Trevor Horn saved my life!

Trevor Horn Band with The Sarn Orchestra

Lady Ann and myself have had a great week, apart from pedestrian activities like shopping for provisions and various doctors appointments we have ventured into unfamiliar territory we attended a concert in our local metropolis, Manchester!

Now I can hear all my friends asking why the hell would you want to put yourselves through that. 

Now we live in what our American friends call the Burbs, a place that is just far enough from civilisation but still has health support that is very effective and in this day and age that is definitely a bonus.

Now months ago a musical hero of mine, Trevor Horn CBE announced that he was touring with his band and an orchestra and was performing in Manchester and I immediately booked. 

It had been over 40 years since I first listened to the Buggles and I had always wanted to see them live, this was quite possibly the last chance I will get to see at least half of them so I jumped at the opportunity. 

I have to say that Lady Ann was less than enthusiastic at this news but seeing that I had been dragged to Micheal Bubble and Gary Barlow in recent years she reluctantly agreed to join me.

So we left to go into Manchester leaving enough time to park and get into the venue. Can I say that we only had one disagreement all the way in and that was about parking. We arrived got in our seats, got a drink and waited for the Concert to begin.

From the first number to the last this was like a romp through my favourite playlist from when I was young enough to be passionate about music. They covered songs I had forgotten and songs which reminded me of long lost times and brought a tear to my eye. 

It is not often you get to witness true talent and it was an evening of laughter and eye watering virtuoso performances from all of the band. Even Lady Ann enjoyed it which is a minor miracle in itself because apparently I only listen to ‘sad songs’.

It was so good that Lady Ann even bought me the tee shirt, (only because I bought her one at Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot the other month). So after a fantastic concert, (if you get chance to catch them it is well worth the ticket price) we made our way back to the car park.

Now bearing in mind that we travel a little slow because of my wife reliance on a walking frame we made our way back to the carpark behind the concert hall and I had a very surreal moment, Trevor Horn was stood by the rear barriers to the hall signing autographs.

Now bear in mind I never thought in a million years that I would ever meet the guy, but here I was with only two people getting autographs and I was within a very close proximity of meeting my all time musical idol which I have to say was a total shock. 

Now my mother always said that you should never meet your hero because they always disappoint. Can I say that she was totally wrong, 

I stood and waited like a teenager and went into total fanboy mode, strode forward and shook him by the hand and thanked him for a great concert and he very politely shook my hand and then saved my life from the barrier that was raising as I got to him that I had inadvertently missed.

Now Lady Ann was gobsmacked by the scene in front of her because after 45 years together she pointed out after the event it was totally out of character for me to actually put myself forwards and risk any type of rejection and that I am totally cynical when it comes to celebrity in any form, So she stood back and watched me make a total arse or myself.

So bearing in mind that I am famous for having a plan A,B and C in any situation I failed miserably, I didn’t have a pen so I didn’t ask for an autograph and I even forgot that I had a camera on my phone so I have no record of our encounter.

So I would like to thank Trevor for being ever so polite to a pushy 65 year old bloke and secondly for saving my life. But most of all I would like to thank him for all the great music that brought back so many memories whilst listening to the soundtrack of my life. 

Every song brought back fantastic memories and only great music does that and for that I will be eternally grateful.

The Magic of Music

Abbey Road
Image Courtesy of Apple corp

This time of year, is very special to me because as a family collective we love Christmas. I know this because the women in our family start planning for this extravaganza in October.

To make things worse come the first of December Lady Ann starts watching very average American TV Christmas films full of very bad acting and melodrama that could make you choke on your hot chocolate.

The only thing I truly love about the pre-Christmas warm up is the genius of the creativity of the people who make the Christmas commercials. These thirty or sixty second mini masterpieces are the result of people at the top of their creative game and they have budgets to die for and stories to tell which are truly fantastic.

My favourite by a huge margin this year is the John Lewis Commercial. It’s not only the story that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside although that is amazing, it’s the choice of music and the artist that makes it special.

Golden Slumbers by the Beatles is by any measure a masterpiece. Add Guy Garvey into the mix who has a voice like velvet and a story that resonates with most of us (lying in bed scared of the monster’s underneath) is a work of true genius.

What makes it special is it works on several levels. I can remember listening to Radio Luxembourg on a transistor radio in my bed when Abbey Road was released in 1968. They played the album in its entirely without commercials (which was unheard of at the time) and thinking this was by far the best thing I had ever heard.

Two weeks later after saving up my money from my paper round I had enough money to go and buy the album, something I will always remember. Handing over a couple of quid and running home to listen to the album.

So, let’s travel forwards to the present. I sit down and watch the commercial and listen to Guy Garvey doing a fantastic version and it still has the same effect on me as it did then, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. That’s no mean feat from an almost 50-year-old piece of music.

Music is invaluable it brings memories flooding back. It feels like it happened only yesterday.

I remember the very moment I heard it, lay in my bed feeling the soft fluffy sheets dressed in my stripy pyjamas with a small transistor radio hidden underneath the pillow, listening to this magical music on a single earpiece with the volume drifting in and out of signal and me thinking life will never get better than this.

That is the Magic of music!

You Can’t Beat a Bit of Disco on a Friday Night

BYyrj83CcAAXtBg
Miss World in a Cauldron spinning tunes, in Oldham in the 80s

You cant beat a 80s disco for bringing back all the great and painful memories from your past. Now as a grey haired old bloke you can imagine the horror on the faces of the callow youth watching me strutting my stuff.

When I say strutting I have got to the age where the disconnect between your arms and legs is an issue. According to Lady Eccles that was always the case so I don’t feel quite as bad.

But I love the fact that young people still love the music of my formative years.

I don’t care how old you are but when TRex’s ‘I Love to Boogie’ comes on at a Disco I honestly think that voodoo comes into action and no matter what age you are all your limbs start to twitch.

I suppose that is how it should be, I can remember my mother going weak at the knee’s dancing with my father to Mario Lanza at wedding receptions of my youth. Being a child of the fifties, I don’t count the period before the seventies (thats when the cool music arrived).

Now that is my era, that is when I was passionate about music. That doesn’t mean to say I am any less passionate now about it now but life being what life is I cannot invest the time or energy to discover new music, until now.

We are very lucky nowadays with the advent of streaming music you can do two things. You can listen to all your LPs that are buried deep in the loft that you have nothing to play them on and you can discover new music which I can assure you is every bit as good as the music of your youth.

That is the best bit of the internet that people take for granted. It just arrives with no effort on the part of the listener. Gone have the days of reading Melody Maker or the New Musical Express and visiting your local record store in the vain hope that your favourite bands LP may be in stock.

Another great thing is that we have just come out of Glastonbury which is phenomenal, an explosion of  all music, broadcast through the BBC for free, I don’t even need to get my wellies out I can sit with a cup of tea and enjoy every millisecond without getting wet or some tall bloke standing in front of me so I can’t see.

Watching ZZ Top, Adele and Coldplay giving master classes on how it should be done is just the best activity you can partake of on a settee (apart from sex with someone you love to bits, obviously).

I can watch Bands that I love, Bands I have never heard of and I can connect with young people having the times of their lives. I liken it to being in a pub stood next to a group of people having a great time and enjoying them having a great time without the risk of rejection, I suppose its almost voyeuristic.

But having said all that there is nothing on earth like being stood in  a mosh pit with the thump of the bass drum on your sternum and the sweaty bodies of people around you singing and jumping up and down.

Now I would do it all over again if it wasn’t for the fact when you get older you have to have an escape route to the toilets at hourly intervals which makes for an adventure that most guys of my age don’t want to play roulette with.

So tonight I go to bed feeling a little nearer my formative years rather than the light at the end of the tunnel. So I will now drink my Horlicks and hope that my hangover will not be quite as severe as the one I had last time. (What a rock and roll lifestyle I lead).

Goodnight and may your God go with you and life be kind to you and yours.

Is Music more Important to us Baby Boomers?

Image courtesy of NME
Image courtesy of NME

I have just read a great post from Graeme at sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com who like myself writes a blog about what he feels are the important things in his life. After his Family, his career It seems coincidental that both have an interest in music and he shared one of his favourites from the seventies.

Whats more interesting he can remember what he was doing at the time he was listening to the track! I do that to and I find it amazing that when I hear a track from my past I can remember what I was doing at the time within the first few bars of the song.

I suppose that is because music was the voice of youth in the seventies, something that belonged to the young and the fact it annoyed my parents made it even more attractive.

With the advent of mobile phones, the internet and digital downloads could it be that the excitement of discovering new music by word of mouth or by reading the New Musical Express has been somewhat diminished.

I am not saying that the music produced today is any less brilliant, it’s just I don’t see people discussing it like we used to and I definitely don’t see people walking down the street with an LP under their arm (unless you count the guy I saw at a Caravan concert last year).

So here is my question to you, what music was playing when the most important thing in your life happened?

You tell me yours and I will tell you mine.

If you want to see what track Graham shared in his post go to https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/song-for-sunday/

Who I am and why I’m here

Me

I suppose I had better introduce myself. I am John Eccles a 60 odd year old married man who has had a very eventful life in and around the education and media sectors for most of my working life.

My blog consists of various posts covering aspects of life with family and friends in the Northwest of England.

Well here goes, I live in the middle of the pennines in a small village called Diggle. I know its a strange name but its one of several small villages that cling precariously to the moorlands in an area collectively known as Saddleworth, in-between Oldham in Lancashire and Huddersfield in Yorkshire. Depending on the company you are in will determine which side of the border you admit to living in! (yes it is that contentious an issue).

I arrived here thirty years ago with my family to try and give our Kids the best start in life that living in a small community offers. So along with Ann and my two children we embarked upon what our families thought was a huge undertaking. Travelling all of ten miles to move into our first home which at the time seemed to be a very expensive small terraced stone cottage.

To a certain extent our plan was highly successful, not only have we raised the kids here along with various dogs, horses and goldfish but even our grandkids also spend a great deal of time here also.

So whats my blog about. Its about my everyday observations as a 60 odd year old person who goes through life looking for the best in everyone and in every situation. But believe me of late some days thats not been very easy.

I have found that most people in this world are the same no matter what gender, ethnicity or religion they belong to, we all have a need to feel as though we are valued and loved. I have discovered more often than not people will respond to a smile or a kind gesture and before you know it you are having a chat and showing each other photos on your mobiles.

Now my wife sees me before anyone else as the day starts and she suggests fairly frequently that Its the first cup of coffee that makes me a nice person, before that I am very grumpy.

 

So if you want to get an insight into the mindset of you average grumpy northern bloke who makes media stuff then this could be the place for you.

So I hope you enjoy my blog and please if you do let me know.